In several other forums and guides I have read that Skirmish can be used to substitute Sneak Attack for the purpose of prerequisites of feats. However I cannot find anything in the rules about this. Is it true that Skirmish substitutes Sneak Attack in said case and where do the rules state this?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you link to one or more of these guides? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12, 2017 at 7:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, it's hard to prove a negative, and I would like to believe it to be the case that Wizards did make such a statement - can you share the source(s) that led you to this question? \$\endgroup\$
    – NFeutz
    Oct 12, 2017 at 7:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ It appears here and there, it is never founded however. One is found in the Scout Handbook here: rpgbot.net/dnd35/characters/classes/scout When you go to the feats section, it is stated in the "Craven" feat. \$\endgroup\$
    – TheQ
    Oct 12, 2017 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


After looking through Complete Scoundrel, I found something that specifically states that Skirmish does not count as Sneak Attack for feat prerequisites:

Complete Scoundrel p.71/72

Although the skirmish class feature of a scout (Complete Adventurer) doesn’t count as sneak attack for the purpose of qualifying for feats, a scout with the Swift Ambusher feat (page 81) can combine sneak attack and skirmish extra damage for the purpose of qualifying for ambush feats. Even with this feat, a scout can’t sacrifice skirmish bonus damage to gain the benefit of an ambush feat.


It appears that people (likely including me ⌐.⌐) are unconsciously expanding the rules about sneak attack and sudden strike in Complete Adventurer and Complete Scoundrel to also include skirmish. For reference, those rules:

Complete Adventurer pg. 8

Sudden Strike and Sneak Attack

For the purpose of qualifying for feats, prestige classes, and similar options that require a minimum number of sneak attack extra damage dice, treat the ninja’s sudden strike ability as the equivalent of sneak attack.

This sidebar appears in the section on the ninja, about sudden strike. The scout section does not have any corresponding sidebar about skirmish.

Complete Scoundrel repeats this statement in a sidebar on page 25 entitled “Skirmish and Sudden Strike,” where these two class features are reprinted since they are used in Complete Scoundrel prestige classes. The skirmish section, however, again does not indicate any such correspondence between skirmish and sneak attack.

Finally, Rules Compendium does not seem to repeat this rule at all, and refers to skirmish only in the section on precision damage, which does not address qualifying for anything, just how precision damage works.

So it looks like people are just unconsciously expanding the rules for sneak attack and sudden strike to include skirmish as well. And I think they are right to do so—skirmish and sudden strike are both inferior forms of precision damage, so it makes sense that options available to sneak attack would also be available to them. Skirmish’s damage is extremely low, and it could really use the benefit.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I see your reasoning and I too would like it to be so, but here's why I think it shouldn't apply. Skirmish and Sudden Strike both appear in CS and CA but only Sudden Strike is connected to Sneak Attack, because - I believe - the trigger conditions are similar apart from flanking. They could have also connected Skirmish, but they didn't. Skirmish is different and much easier to trigger, especially with ranged weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – TheQ
    Oct 12, 2017 at 14:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheQ Skirmish is definitely not easier than sneak stack, and really not easier than sudden strike unless Complete Champion is also in play (which would have been impossible when published). Precision damage relies on applying it many times in a turn—skirmish cannot do that without some way to move and full-attack in the same turn. And then even if you do, the damage is a lot less. Balance is definitely not a good reason to deny skirmish those options. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Oct 12, 2017 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ True, I didn't consider full attacks. \$\endgroup\$
    – TheQ
    Oct 12, 2017 at 17:15

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